INNOVATION

Say Goodbye To Twitter Eggs, Not Trolls

The platform is changing its default avatar, but that won't fix online harassment.

01/04/2017 5:06 AM AEDT | Updated 01/04/2017 5:06 AM AEDT

Twitter eggs have finally hatched, and from their shells have emerged amorphous human blobs.

On Friday, Twitter announced that its iconic eggs would no longer be the default profile pictures for new users. Instead, they’ll be replaced with the silhouette of a “generic, serious, unbranded” avatar. What a time to be alive!

In a press release, Twitter explained that they hope the new change will prevent people from sticking with the “fun and cute” egg, and spur them to quickly switch the setting to something more personalized. 

An empty state, essentially, is what we wanted it to be,” senior manager of product design Bryan Haggerty told Co.Design.

The eggs are perhaps most synonymous with internet trolls hell-bent on harassing other users under a cloak of anonymity. 

“We’ve noticed patterns of behavior with accounts that are created only to harass others ― often they don’t take the time to personalize their accounts,” Twitter’s statement said. “This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isn’t fair to people who are still new to Twitter and haven’t yet personalized their profile photo.”

The new change doesn’t address online harassment, but instead encourages new users to distance themselves from the harassers. Folks on Twitter aren’t taking kindly to that logic:

While the new change might not address harassment, Twitter has recently taken steps to combat abusive users. Last month, the company announced it would expand efforts to stop banned users from opening new accounts, and introduced a “safe search” feature to remove sensitive tweets.

We’re still going to miss the egg, though.

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